Discussing the Lack of Evidence to Support Herbal Medications for Cardiovascular Disease

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Evidence is still lacking to support the use of herbal medications in cardiovascular disease.
Evidence is still lacking to support the use of herbal medications in cardiovascular disease.

HealthDay News — While there's little evidence that herbal medications are safe or effective to treat cardiovascular conditions, they remain popular among patients with cardiovascular disease, according to a review published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

The investigators looked at 42 herbal medications that have been identified as a possible treatment for one or more cardiovascular conditions, including hypertension, heart failure, and atherosclerosis.

The team found that there isn't enough evidence to determine if herbal remedies are causing potential complications. Many patients don't tell their doctor they are taking herbal medications, probably because they don't view these as treatments that could cause serious side effects, the study authors said.

"Physicians should improve their knowledge of herbal medications to adequately weigh the clinical implications related to their use," the authors write. "Communicating with the patient is a crucial component of the process, where the pros and cons of specific herbal medications should be explained and their risk-benefit profile properly discussed."

Reference

Likperoti R, Vetrano DL, Bernabei R, Onder G. Herbal medications in cardiovascular medicine. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2017;69(9):1188-1199. doi: 10.1016/j.jacc.2016.11.078

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